* Posts by Lomax

262 posts • joined 31 Mar 2009

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Where meetings go to die: Microsoft Teams outage lets customers skip that collaboration call they've been dreading

Lomax
Facepalm

Office 365 was also affected

Claims the Indy.

Such a great idea, isn't it, to rent your productivity software from across the Internet. What could possibly go wrong? Fortunately there is an easy fix that will let you continue working on your draft report even when some remote server has fallen over - and it's free as well (in both senses):

sudo apt-get install libreoffice

Edit: Perhaps MS should change the name to Office 364, just to ward off any false marketing lawsuits. Even better: Office 360. As in "you are surrounded by idiots on all sides".

AWS tops up the Bezos rocket fund thanks to more money from Brit tax collection agency

Lomax
Facepalm

It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it

"In addition, HMRC has awarded a £2m contract to AWS EMEA Sarl UK's Professional Services wing, again for two years. This involves the provision of consultants that will work on speeding up the adoption of AWS products and services."

So HMRC are paying Amazon to tell them what other Amazon products they should buy.

What could possibly go wrong?

All grown up: Raspberry Pis running Ubuntu added to IoT patching service KernelCare

Lomax

Yeah, and reboots are pretty quick on my Devuan IoT Pis. I always run with automatic security updates, and take into account when designing the system that individual machines will reboot occasionally. Never had a problem. Oh actually, I did have an issue where my OpenVPN connection sometimes wouldn't come back up after a reboot, but I fixed that with a little bashing. I use Mosquitto for messaging, which holds messages until delivered, and Node-Red for flow control, with cold start initialisations. Rebooting is not the drama it used to be.

Wine pops cork on version 6.0 of the Windows compatibility layer for *nix systems

Lomax
Angel

Re: Don't forget Crossover Office

> TOOLS and UTILS

What is the difference between a "tool" and a "ulility"?

Explained: The thinking behind the 32GB Windows Format limit on FAT32

Lomax

Re: "the age-old problem of the temporary solution becoming de-facto permanent"

Side note: Until the End of the World, anyone?

Lomax
Megaphone

Re: "the age-old problem of the temporary solution becoming de-facto permanent"

> there's a lot of backwards going on right now in computing

I was just thinking about how barely anyone I know uses anything that looks like a computer any more; the programmers have grown up to middle management (and have forgotten all about code), the creatives have become YouTubers (and have forgotten all about creating), and most others work in hospitality (as in AirBnB), sales (as in B&Q), warehousing (as in Amazon) or driving (as in Uber). The black mirror they all carry in their pockets, and which studiously records their every breath, is what they use for anything which would otherwise require a computer. They give me strange looks when I pull out my laptop to check my emails ("why don't you use WhatsApp!?"). Also: none of them chat, email or write any more - the UI is optimised for voice & video and "typing" is reduced to the occasional "LOL" or smiley. Talk about going backwards - the technology which once promised to set us all free instead turned us into mindless serfs. The most brilliant tool ever invented is no longer used to make, only to consume.

And now for something completely different: A lightweight, fast browser that won't slurp your data

Lomax
Devil

Indefensible

I see several people in this thread contorting themselves to defend excessive use of JavaScript - they are either lazy, ignorant or both. Please read and digest the relevant standards and you'll see that much of what you think can only be done with JS has already been addressed in HTML, CSS and HTTP. Not only that - there is elegance, pragmatism and restraint. If you think JavaScript is the answer you've likely misunderstood the question. Certainly leaving the user with a blank page because he doesn't want to run your scripts is just plain rude. The web is not only for man, but also for machine - and for man not only for the sighted and able bodied. Bet you've never even heard of tabindex.

Makes me glad to be out of the web development game; we would hate each other if we had to work together.

Lomax
Alert

"Our systems have detected unusual traffic from your computer network"

Is that because i'm not using your browser spyware?

US nuke agency hacked by suspected Russian SolarWinds spies, Microsoft also installed backdoor

Lomax

Re: Too big to fail

Open source has never looked this good.

Lomax

Re: Too big to fail ..... one of the greatest of myths

If you wish to cover all the lands with your plague, without interruption or intrusion from the other planets or worlds, then go into the basement or the shed, and presently perform the sacred ritual; dance for the system that never sees daylight (or another system), so that the purity of the strain may be preserved. Only this holy vial can contain your dreams of domination, only this vial has the power to let the powerful continue to rule in their sunken vessel. When the light turns green, the truth is reborn, and the eating and the eaten emerge to feast.

Lomax

Re: Too big to fail

Pretty sure they will be looking very carefully right now. Not that that means they'll find anything - and not that that means it isn't there. Last time I checked a minimal Windows OS install was in the 40GB region, and we're talking compiled code of course. How many lines of C#, C++, VB, Assembler, what have you, only god Bill knows. Trillions?

Lomax

Re: i used to enjoy solarwinds Orion when it was a single app ona single server

PRTG +1

Lomax
Black Helicopters

Too big to fail

If Microsoft's production systems had been compromised, and malicious code had been pushed out via Windows Update, do you think they would admit it, or try to cover it up? If I was directing the activities of the group responsible for this hack, I would consider the Windows/Office codebase to be the ultimate target - get in there and you pwn the world. Damn near 100% of corporate and governmental desktops and laptops run Windows, and Office, and most of them are inside some part of their VPNs - many no doubt in the innermost layer. Servers are watched 24/7 by admins and security personnel, because a failure here is considered costly and dangerous. Individual desktops and laptops are less of a concern; they are routinely re-imaged and should not store any really sensitive data - insert a well crafted trojan here and you may evade detection far longer than on any high-value system. Keep an eye on any recent/upcoming Windows Updates for clues...

Ad blocking made Google throw its toys out of the pram – and now even more control is being taken from us

Lomax
Thumb Down

Re: Keep on AdBlocking

I'm running 78.4.0esr and recently closed the 1583 tabs I had accumulated - not to free up memory, but to free myself from them! I have no performance issues whatsoever with Firefox on my i7 8gb machine, but maybe that's because I have NoScript installed. I do have a lot of issues with Google though, and simply cannot use any of their products. I would rather crawl over broken glass switch to any other browser than switch to Chrome.

Lomax
Alert

Re: Keep on AdBlocking

Would you buy Firefox if it was a paid for product? I would. In a heartbeat. ~€50 seems reasonable. I've already donated to the Mozilla Foundation - twice in fact, but I would have no hesitation to buy a license if they switched to that model. It's by far the most heavily used software on my computers, and I've paid hundreds of Euros for some of the other software I use.

World+dog share in collective panic attack as Google slides off the face of the internet

Lomax

Re: “So there was no need to resort to something like Bing”

> a good alternative to Google search

Did you try Qwant?

Lomax
Thumb Up

Re: “So there was no need to resort to something like Bing”

I've been using Qwant as my default search engine for months now, and have found it to be really quite good. Previously tried to use DuckDuckGo as the default but found myself constantly repeating the search in Google - not so with Qwant!

Forget your space-age IT security systems. It might just take a $1m bribe and a willing employee to be pwned

Lomax

Re: The Independent Takes a Stumble Under Pressure

Could be! Is that where Fastly keep their LCY boxen?

Lomax
Go

Re: Just say no

Sounds to me like he did exactly the right thing:

According to the complaint, Kriuchkov traveled to the US in July on a tourist visa and made contact with a Russian-speaking employee at Tesla Gigafactory Nevada.

He met the employee, who remains anonymous in the complaint, several times socially before making him a proposition to pay him to help introduce malware in Tesla’s internal computer system in order to extract corporate data and affect Tesla’s operations.

Kriuchkov alleged that he was representing a group that would then arrange a ransom with Tesla in order to not release the information and stop affecting its operations. The employee didn’t refuse, but he immediately informed Tesla, who in turn informed the FBI.

The FBI launched a sting operation with the employee who wore a wire and shared text communications with Kriuchkov as they were negotiating the terms of the malware attack. The employee and Kriuchkov met several times throughout August to plan the attack and the payment of the employee’s fee.

Interestingly, through the cooperation with the Tesla employee, the FBI was able to obtain information about previous attacks from this group.

https://electrek.co/2020/08/27/tesla-fbi-prevent-ransomware-hack-gigafactory-nevada/ (thanks @disgruntled yank for the link).

Lomax
Big Brother

The Independent Takes a Stumble Under Pressure

Any guesses who's behind the takedown of the London Independent? It's been down most of the day, at one point showing the Apache2 Ubuntu Default page, and currently

Timed out while waiting on cache-lcy19271-LCY
The cache time-out makes me think DDoS. Then again, maybe it's just that the ops team haven't had their maintenance whipping, due to Covid-19 social distancing...

The Viking Snowden: Denmark spy chief 'relieved of duty' after whistleblower reveals illegal snooping on citizens

Lomax

Re: Corruption,... again

The science is on empathy is actually quite interesting.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empathy#Development

It's a trait that is shared by most mammals, and humanity is likely not the most empathetic species, though we are near the top. Dolphins for example, have three times as many Von Economo neurons as humans do, and the bonobo has also been shown to be a highly empathetic animal, perhaps more so than we are. But we could not have climbed to the technologically sophisticated heights we find ourselves at without a considerable amount of empathy. High-technology requires cooperation between large groups of people, which would quickly break down if we were lacking empathy. It's an evolved trait which gives us an advantage. Per definition though, empathy must include those not part of our own tribe; that's what makes it a thing.

Steve Wozniak at 70: Here's to the bloke behind Apple who wasn't a complete... turtleneck

Lomax
Pint

Triumph of the Nerds

I raise a glass to Woz, the ultimate protonerd, and celebrate by re-watching Rob Cringely's excellent 1996 documentary series.

https://archive.org/details/triumph_of_the_nerds

25 years of PHP: The personal web tools that ended up everywhere

Lomax
Devil

Simple, elegant and powerful

No, not PHP; Ruby on Rails.

China’s preferred Linux distro trumpets Arm benchmark results

Lomax
Alert

Q.E.D.

https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/usa-riteaid-software/

> Cathy Langley, Rite Aid’s vice president of asset protection, said earlier this year that facial recognition – which she referred to as “feature matching” – resulted in less violence and organized crime in the company’s stores.

> Some security experts said any program with connections to China was troubling because it could open the door to aggressive surveillance in the United States more typical of an autocratic state.

Lomax
Boffin

Re: Remind me

Intel Management Engine can be neutered, though the procedure is not for the faint of heart:

https://github.com/corna/me_cleaner/wiki/How-does-it-work?

In particular, this will disable the ME's network stack, which should make it pretty useless as a backdoor.

Lomax

So you agreed with my post? For some reason I got a different impression. My apologies!

Lomax
Facepalm

Me: It's difficult to avoid becoming more totalitarian when in open competition with a totalitarian state.

AC: Wrong; you're already half way there!

Me: ...

Lomax

>SWOOOSH<

Lomax

> And Taiwan too...

Which is also a democracy...

Lomax
Stop

> Just like Japan and Korea.

With one small difference: both those countries are democracies. Which means we did not have to subvert the electoral process, reduce worker's rights, curtail freedom of speech, restrict access to information, or introduce draconian mass surveillance, in order to compete effectively with them. How can we compete with China?

Here's why your Samsung Blu-ray player bricked itself: It downloaded an XML config file that broke the firmware

Lomax
Boffin

Re: Rookie mistake

Ah, I see. I'm sorry, but I couldn't understand what you meant with

> Well yes, phones do this.

Do what? From looking at pictures* of stand alone Blu-ray players, they seem to use touch interfaces almost exclusively, but these are of the capacitive touch "button" type (as opposed to a GUI on an LCD), which should be (almost) as easy to read as physical buttons. A touch button interface often uses a dedicated chip to read the capacitive sensor inputs and translating them to logic levels, so from the SoC's perspective they look just like regular buttons. Some SoCs have native capacitive inputs, eliminating the need for an external chip. It's still an inferior technology to physical buttons though, over which it only really has two advantages: bling factor and cost saving. Some might argue capacitive touch inputs are better environmentally protected and more durable than physical buttons, but then you don't know buttons as well as I do :)

*) A photo on the web is about as close as I'd like to get to one of those things.

Lomax

Re: Rookie mistake

Not quite: you still need to keep some physical buttons pressed in while powering up to get the phone into recovery mode, unless of course it's an Apple device in which case you're SOL. The reason for this is quite simple: the SoC won't know that you want it to go into recovery mode unless you tell it, and to do that via the touchscreen would require the device to boot up first - so if the reason you want to enter recovery mode is that it won't boot... Physical buttons by contrast are connected (more or less) straight to the SoC's GPIO pins and can therefore be read by its low-level firmware prior to booting.

Lomax
Devil

Re: Rookie mistake

> Would it need extra hardware?

If I was designing it I would include a button to purposely trigger a "factory reset" or other recovery option. But most such gadgets include user interface buttons anyway (unless they've gone all "glass"*) - I'm sure the bootloader could be made to check their state instead, negating the need for an extra reset button. E.g. "hold down [stop] and [skip back] while powering on to perform a factory reset".

*) What is it with people and touchscreens? How is it possible to prefer pressing your finger against a perfectly flat glass surface with zero feedback over pressing a distinctly tactile button!? I'm sure it's only a question of time before we get Nintendo DS style laptops with a touchscreen keyboard which doubles as a social media interface that you cannot disable.

Edit: Hell, the way things are going I predict touchscreen pianos and guitars will be a thing any day now. Just remember you heard about it here first!

Edit 2: No really; people look at new cars with all glass cockpits and go "oooh, sexy, I want that one". Only to receive a Darwin award shortly after their purchase, when trying to change the fan setting while on the motorway.

Lomax

Re: Rookie mistake

> That would, presumably, require a bit of code and a bit of storage.

True. And a button. But the on-board storage on the SoC (presumably some MediaTek/ARM-32 jobbie) might be large enough to hold a factory boot config which is used when the one in flash won't boot - or if the user holds in a button while powering up the device. So the only additional hardware needed could be a button - unless of course you can use an interface key which is already present, in which case the hardware cost would be zero (ok, make that two buttons, for a proper three-finger-salute). That "only" leaves the code... and the testing... but those should be one-off costs. And the beancounters can do one; it will cost the company more to cover mail-in "repair" costs if when their devices go TITSUP - not just in terms of logistics, manhours and materials, but in brand reputation. As demonstrated by this very thread.

Lomax

Re: Rookie mistake

I am somewhat resigned to the observed reality that just because you've tested something to destruction that doesn't guarantee it won't go TITSUP due to something unexpected - hopefully in an entertaining fashion, or in a way which leads to new scientific discoveries. A user accessible method for restoring a "last known good configuration" (which could be the same as a "factory reset") seems essential for any "smart" gadget - and is a curious omission on these Blu-ray players.

Fancy some fishy-chips? Just order one of these sensors: Research shines light on suspect component sources

Lomax
Boffin

1-Wire parasitic power

> some lack features like support for using parasitic power – using power even if a device is turned off

Parasitic power on 1-Wire networks is actually quite clever; as the name implies these devices can run off a single wire for both data and power (some kind of ground reference also needs to be available of course). The chip charges an on-board capacitor with enough power from the data line (during a 750ms preamble) to wake up, execute the request, and return the response. In other words, such a device can run off the whiff of an oily rag, and draws zero power when idle. Originally envisaged by Dallas as a "MicroLan" for all manner of ultra-low power devices, 1-Wire today is mostly used for temperature sensors and ID tags (like the ones many waiters carry on a retractable keychain, and use to identify themselves at the till, a.k.a. "iButton"). This is a shame, because it's pretty cool technology, especially for the power conscious. That said, there are still a few 1-Wire enthusiast suppliers around, such as HomeChip and Sheepwalk Electronics. Check Wikipedia for more info about 1-Wire.

Soft press keys for locked-down devs: Three new models of old school 60-key Happy Hacking 'board out next month

Lomax

Re: I used to use L,H,J,K lad, and I were lucky to even have that!

> bold move for a "developer" keyboard

No function keys either! What digital contortion is required to Ctrl+Alt+F1-8? Alt+F4? F5 to refresh? F11 for full screen? F12 for debug console? No dedicated Home, End, Ins, Del, PgUp, PgDn. Space-bar the size of a shift key. What are you supposed to be programming with this, a VHS recorder? It's like paying more for less. A lot more!

If you wanna make your own open-source chip, just Google it. Literally. Web giant says it'll fab them for free

Lomax
Boffin

> Last time I looked into it, eyetracker interfaces were the state of the art - seriously expensive, and very slow.

I don't know when that was, but it seems things have moved on; here's a hot-off-the-press study in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science:

Accuracy and precision of the HTC VIVE PRO eye tracking in head-restrained and head-free conditions

Alexandra Sipatchin; Siegfried Wahl; Katharina Rifai - June 2020

They find that this consumer (US$800) VR headset can track the wearer's eyes with an average accuracy of around 4° in a 25° radius around the center of view. That's not super precise, but should be enough to support meaningful UI interactions for people with LIS.

Facebook accused of trying to bypass GDPR, slurp domain owners' personal Whois info via an obscure process

Lomax
Thumb Up

Re: What do you think it is about

> I intend to ask for turdburgers

> they looked and tasted like pressed sludge dredged out of the Hudson River

I think The Yes Men are on to something:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZP_nNemsNT8

After 84 years, Japan's Olympus shutters its camera biz, flogs it to private equity – smartphones are just too good

Lomax

Re: Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

This would happen if the battery got low. You could release the mirror by turning the shutter speed ring to "B" (also marked as "reset" bottom right IIRC). But if you were out & about without a spare battery you were SOL; all speeds were electronically controlled with no mechanical fall-back. Just another area where Olympus were way ahead of everyone else :D

Not that I would kick an FA out of the bed. I had an FM2 for many years and loved it. Eventually went digital with a D200, then bought the FM3A, then went medium format. TBH, I am was more of a Nikonian than an Olympian. In terms of £££ spent probably a Hasslian?

Lomax

Re: The smartphone is not the problem...

> The SLR became mature at the end of '70s, when it added full aperture metering, replaced unreliable and delicate meters with silicon ones, and shutters became metallic and vertically operated.

The OM-2 has all of those apart from the metal shutter and was introduced in 1975. Still syncs at 1/60 with a horizontal fabric shutter. And despite being smaller and lighter you could use it to grind a 6D into a pile of plastic granules while suffering little more than a few scratches.

Lomax

Re: The smartphone is not the problem...

> The main problem is that sales drop when a product has finally matured

Perhaps. Though arguably the 35mm SLR was mature by 1970 - yet continued to sell for another 30 years. Cost cutting / profit maximising / shareholder dividending might be a bigger problem; we just don't make things as expensively as we used to. Case in point, the Nikon FM3A which launched in 2001. It was supposed to be a "classic" 35mm SLR revival camera in the vein of the venerable FM and FE series. I owned one though, and it felt like a cheap piece of tat compared to the FM/FE bodies - complete with a painted plastic prism housing (imagine what that looked like after a few years days on the road...) Another one: the much lauded Canon 5/6D, which everyone and their dog seems to use these days - even for cinema production. Despite whatever its optical/digital qualities may be I cannot overcome the disgust I feel whenever I handle one; the thing is built like a child's plastic toy! No joy whatsoever - and even less so after smattering away 30,000 frames with three way bracketing; what am I supposed to do with them all!? Laptops are the same; not long ago we were happy to pay £3k for an IBM ThinkPad which had the build quality of an Apollo Programme device; today we have to be content with a cheap imitation from Lenovo at half the price (despite inflation!), which has the build quality (and ergonomics) of a Fisher Price product.

</rant>

Lomax
Unhappy

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Sad news indeed! My first "proper" camera was an OM-2, and despite having owned several Nikons, two Hasselblads, and a bunch of other nice cameras, it's still my favourite. Supremely well made, smaller and more compact than any competitor, with excellent ergonomics - and one of the first to have TTL flash control. I had the winder and a selection of lovely Zuiko lenses, which similarly to the body had a compactness that belied their quality; 135mm f/3.5, 50mm f/1.4 and 28mm f/2.8 IIRC. The 135mm had a built in telescoping lens shade which I haven't seen on any other lens - very handy. To me, the sound of the OM-2 fabric shutter still defines how a camera should sound. Out of the 10 best photos I ever took, about half were taken with the OM-2. Post digital I kinda lost interest in photography, though I had a brief medium format revival a few years ago. There's not the same joy in taking pictures with a computer. Nowadays I exclusively take photos for documentation purposes, with a Ricoh GX200 (another legendary company btw).

Digital killed the photography star.

Hey is trying a new take on email – but maker complains of 'outrageous' demands after Apple rejects iOS app

Lomax
Headmaster

> Apples % take on sales is extortionate. Far higher than any retailer.

I'm pretty sure that is incorrect. Clothing retail for example can have mark-up as high as 400%. In fact that's probably a very conservative guesstimate. How much do you think Nike pays their slave labour camps suppliers for a pair of plastic shoes which retail at £100? £5? £1?

The rest of your post is spot on though, so have an upvote!

Lomax

No need to repeat what's already in the thread unless it is pertinent to your message. If I'm replying to specific points in an email (or on a forum) I'll inline my replies with the individual points I'm addressing. If I'm just continuing the general conversation I often Ctrl+A before I start typing. I never bottom post below a massive amount of text where no-one only us greybeards will know to look.

Lomax
Stop

Re: Apple are like modern day

Wow. Just wow. If you're looking for a wankstain who has no idea how to behave in a society, find yourself a mirror.

Flagged for moderation. Twice.

Lomax
Facepalm

But but but but but

Will you get email notifications for new messages on "Hey"? Will it talk IMAP? Will my (id)IoT systems be able to send and receive messages through the service? Will my Sailfish powered mobile device go "pling" when I get a new message? Can I download my messages for offline access? How many pages of indecipherable terms & conditions will I need to accept to use the service? Will those T&Cs change when the service is bought by Amazon/Microsoft/Google/[insert evil megacorp name]? Will world+cat suddenly find themselves unable to communicate in the unlikely event that when "Hey's" servers can't be reached? Will there be an open and free API for third party developers to use? Can I write my own "Hey" compatible software? Is yet another proprietary centralised comms platform really what the world needs? Do I feel comfortable with storing my nude photos cat pictures on a server I do not control? Will the "Hey" servers be based in a civilised part of the world that has strong privacy legislation or in a corrupt totalitarian banana republic the USA? Will I be able to run my own, private, "Hey" server? Does it handle CalDAV/CardDAV sync and storage? Is it possible to "improve" something without replacing it? Is backwards compatibility an important principle or just an obsoleted ideal from yesteryear?

Have we learned nothing?

P.S.

> Ruby on Rails inventor David Heinemeier Hansson

He may have invented Rails, but he sure as hell didn't invent Ruby!

> Hansson co-wrote Agile Web Development with Rails

I think I found the problem.

Repair store faces hefty legal bill after losing David and Goliath fight with Apple over replacement iPhone screens

Lomax
Thumb Down

Apple: rotten to the core.

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